A popular remark among drummers has always been that “simple is better.” Many drummers, especially beginners, tend to over-play, failing to realize that in most situations the drummer’s role is to lay down a foundation—a background for other musicians to build on—not to play as a lead instrument. However, the simplicity of a drummer’s work can lead to boredom and possible burn-out. Continually playing 8th- and 16th-note cymbal patterns on the hi-hat and ride can eventually lead to an overall disinterest in drumming. This seems extreme, but falling into a rut is not uncommon.

An excellent method of preventing this plight is to use the hi-hat and ride cymbal simultaneously with a particular pattern. The concept will still provide simplistic rhythms that are tasteful and that will undoubtedly expand creativity. Hopefully, these rhythms will also stimulate the imagination to add variety to the scope of every- day playing.

Steve Gadd is one of the most prominent artists who plays the hi-hat regularly with the left hand. This technique, along with the right hand on the ride, sheds a new light on laying down a simple groove. In terms of creativity, drummers can improve their abilities by mastering these exercises and creating their own, which in turn will lead to better dexterity with the hands.

The first three exercises provide the groundwork for the rest of the patterns.

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The following patterns are in pairs, and while the rhythms are the same, the stickings are somewhat different.

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For additional practice, try these combinations:

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Once the patterns become comfortable, these suggested bass rhythms can be applied to provide more interesting combinations.

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